MGE Corporate Giving

MGE collaborates and works together with hundreds of organizations to provide service, help improve lives, tackle challenges and seize opportunities facing our community. We partner with local stakeholders in a variety of ways to advance shared goals and initiatives. From projects to partnerships, board service to support, we are privileged to work with many serving our community. Every day we work to be engaged in the fabric of our community, whether it’s helping to build a healthy local economy or helping to extend service to those in need. MGE commends all in our community who invest their time, energy and resources to make our area a better place to live.

As your community energy company, MGE is thankful for the opportunity to work with all of our local partners to support their meaningful work. This brief report includes a glimpse of some of those activities in 2019 and 2020.

Covid 19

Supporting Our Community During COVID-19

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Since then, COVID-19 has had profound impacts on the global economy and the daily lives of millions of people, including many whom we serve and with whom we do business. MGE has worked to let the community know we’re here to work with customers and to serve as a partner and a resource in our collective response to the many impacts of the pandemic.


Community engagement

Virtual La Movida

As part of our virtual engagement with customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, MGE’s Mario Garcia Sierra, Senior Customer Engagement and Community Development Manager, took his partnership with one of our longtime community partners, Spanish radio station La Movida, virtual. He continued to co-produce the show and take calls from his living room to help ensure MGE’s Spanish-speaking customers were informed and had the information they needed from MGE, such as resources and referrals for assistance, throughout the pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, we have continued to stay connected and continued to work with our customers. MGE residential and community services managers and commercial and multifamily account representatives worked with customers to provide information and resources for saving energy and for requesting economic relief. These communications were translated into Spanish and Hmong and shared by MGE representatives who partner with Spanish-speaking and Hmong communities in our service territory.


While unable to attend workshops and other events in person during the pandemic, MGE’s Residential and Community Services team worked to find ways to help customers and organizations virtually. For example, the team participated in mutual aid groups that formed on Facebook to be able to respond quickly to those needs or concerns. Using Zoom, social media and phone calls, our energy experts also reached out proactively early in the pandemic, so different community organizations and neighborhood associations knew MGE was still accessible and ready to provide assistance where needed.

“MGE has been building relationships with community organizations and individuals for decades. That trust within the community is essential, especially during a time of crisis. Because we have these trusted relationships in the community, we can work together with our network of community resources to share a message with our customers that we are here to work with them and we have put together resources to help,” explained Joann Kelley, Director Residential and Community Services.

COVID-19 also impacted many businesses. During the pandemic, members of our Commercial and Industrial Marketing team worked closely with many of our business customers to ensure their questions were being answered and their needs were being met. We also provided information on our website about numerous resources available to assist customers financially impacted by the pandemic.


Charitable contributions

Second Harvest

As the community was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, MGE donated $50,000 to Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. The nonprofit held mobile food pantries to distribute food to those affected by the pandemic.

During the early stretch of the pandemic, the United Way of Dane County reported a 400% increase in calls to its 211 line, which connects people with local programs and services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our charitable arm, the MGE Foundation, contributed $200,000 to the United Way of Dane County COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Fund and other community partners, including the Latino Consortium for Action, a social services provider for Latinos in Dane County, and Energy Services, Inc., which provides energy assistance services to limited-income households. We donated $50,000 to Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin to assist the Madison community during the pandemic. The nonprofit estimates it distributed 56% more pounds of food last year, since the start of the pandemic, compared to 2019.

The Foundation also provided support to the City of Madison, the Madison Metropolitan School District and the United Way of Dane County for a Child Care Scholarship Fund to provide child care for limited-income families with elementary school children. MGE and the MGE Foundation are proud to support the many organizations that provided increased services to community members during the pandemic, positively impacting thousands across our community in different ways.

Masks

At the beginning of the pandemic, personal protective equipment shortages impacted many essential businesses, including health care organizations in Madison. MGE employees worked to get needed supplies to local hospitals with donations of 500 N95 respirator masks, 150 Tyvek suits and 2,900 pairs of medical gloves.

More information about how MGE addressed the challenges of a global pandemic to meet the needs and provide for the safety of employees, customers and the broader community is available in our Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report, which can be found at mge.com/sustainability.


Virtual events

In any given year, MGE provides support for numerous events throughout our community. Whether it’s sponsoring neighborhood festivals, the mayor’s neighborhood conference or a Mallards’ game at the Duck Pond, MGE and our team of energy experts provide assistance year-round. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, a lot of events were postponed or cancelled or went virtual. That didn’t mean MGE’s help went away.


Black Girl Magic Conference

Created in 2018, the Black Girl Magic Conference is designed for fourth through seventh grade girls in the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) who identify as African American or multiracial. It provides them an opportunity to come together for a day of learning, connecting, fitness and fun—with activities led by women who look like them.

Usually an in-person event, COVID-19 turned the 2020 Black Girl Magic Conference into an interactive virtual event. The Black Girl Magic Conference was created by a Madison native and MMSD graduate who now works in the district as an advanced learning teacher. The MGE Foundation served as a sponsor of the 2020 Black Girl Magic Conference.


Brat Fest

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Brat Fest has been a Madison staple over Memorial Day weekend since the mid-1980s. What started in a local grocery store parking lot has grown into a three-day festival with music, food and family fun. Over the years, more than four million brats sold has turned into nearly $2 million to benefit more than 100 local charities. MGE sponsored Brat Fest in both 2019 and 2020.

In addition to sponsoring Brat Fest, MGE partnered with organizers to offset its carbon emissions from electricity used at the 2019 festival with renewable energy. Due to COVID-19, Brat Fest went virtual in 2020; however, the virtual Brat Fest Auction still raised more than $25,000 for local charities in 2020.

Brat Fest 2020
MGE sponsored Brat Fest in both 2019 and 2020. In its nearly 40-year history, the annual event has helped raise almost $2 million for more than 100 local nonprofits. In 2019, MGE partnered with organizers to offset carbon emissions from the electricity used.


Impacts of COVID-19

For some organizations, going virtual isn’t an option when it comes to the services they provide. Our support continues for those groups as well.

For nearly 25 years, Unidos Against Domestic Violence has helped Latino survivors of domestic violence access local services in Dane County and the surrounding areas. While the pandemic forced many people to stay at home, home is not necessarily a safe place for victims of domestic violence. The need for Unidos’ services increased during COVID-19 and changed how it operates so victims would not have to stay in a bad situation.

Domestic abuse survivors who lost their jobs due to the pandemic faced the potential of needing to return to living with their abusers because they lost their source of income. Unidos raised funds to offer financial assistance to survivors and their families for essential living expenses, such as food, transportation, housing payments and more. Modest levels of financial help meant the difference between their ability to stay in their safe homes rather than living with their abusers.

In addition to support from MGE, Joann Kelley, Director Residential and Community Services, serves on its Board of Directors.

Earth Day


Corporate Giving: Community Partnerships

We appreciate all of the opportunities we have to work together with local stakeholders and our customers in pursuit of shared goals for our community. A few of our activities from 2019 and 2020 follow.


The Sessions at McPike Park

The Sessions at McPike Park is a series of popular summertime events that benefit local nonprofit organizations, including Centro Hispano of Dane County, Common Wealth Development Inc., Intertribal Agriculture Council, NAMI Dane County, Urban League of Greater Madison and WORT 89.9 FM Community Radio.

MGE is a longtime supporter of The Sessions at McPike Park, which take place in our neighborhood. Prior to COVID-19, thousands of people would gather in the heart of the Isthmus to enjoy live music, food and beverages at these free events for the entire family. Despite the cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, the Central Park Sessions Board continued its work to help raise funds for the local nonprofits that The Sessions help support.


EV Field Trip

Students from Madison’s Memorial High School had the opportunity for a hands-on experience with electric vehicles (EVs) as part of a daylong field trip to explore and to learn about EV technology. The students, who were enrolled in engineering and consumer auto classes, spent time at MGE learning about EVs, EV charging and our solar projects. They learned more about EV technology and maintenance during stops at the City of Madison Fleet Service building and Zimbrick BMW. They also rode in a Tesla Model 3 from Green Cab.

The field trip was made possible through an educational partnership among the Madison Metropolitan School District, Madison College, the City of Madison and MGE.

EV Field Trip

In 2019, MGE hosted 24 students from engineering and consumer auto classes at James Madison Memorial High School for an EV field trip planned in partnership with the Madison Metropolitan School District, the City of Madison and Madison College.

Earth Day Every Day

Earth Day Every Day is MGE’s annual campaign for middle school students to highlight environmental stewardship and sustainability. MGE creates engaging digital content with activities and information on a range of energy and environmental topics, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation, recycling, EVs and charging, and more. It is an educational resource for teachers, community groups and youth organizations.

Through our partnership with local schools, we make the campaign available to elementary and middle school classrooms. MGE also works with local Nature Net partners to promote and offer ongoing environmental education experiences as part of our Earth Day Every Day campaign. Nature Net is a not-for-profit learning network comprised of 19 area nature centers, museums, gardens and parks offering environmental education to children, teachers and families. Earth Day Every Day is available online at mge.com/EarthDay.


Femmestival

The inaugural Femmestival was held in February 2020 at Garver Feed Mill in Madison. Femmestival is a culinary and visual arts festival that celebrates the work of women, femmes and nonbinary entrepreneurs. It is geared toward someone who is thinking of starting a business but is unsure about how it will be received.

With support from sponsors, including Garver and MGE, the family-friendly, affordable event charges no entrance and vendor fees. Femmestival is a coproduction of Garver Events and Madison’s Culinary Ladies Collective (CLC). Proceeds benefit CLC and Centro Hispano of Dane County.
Femmestival

The first-ever Femmestival was held at Madison’s Garver Feed Mill in 2020 to celebrate women, femmes and nonbinary entrepreneurs, artists and producers. Photo courtesy of Femmestival.


Madison Night Market

A celebration of Madison’s unique creative culture went virtual in 2020 due to COVID-19. Typically an in-person event held along State Street, the virtual version brought the Madison Night Market into attendees’ homes through Facebook. Downtown businesses showcased their artisan gifts, handmade products, prepackaged food and more.

The Market is presented by Madison’s Central Business Improvement District in partnership with the City of Madison. MGE has supported the Madison Night Market since it began in 2017.


Duck Pond Drive-in Movie Nights

Lights, camera, action! With the Madison Mallards’ 2020 season cancelled due to COVID-19, the Duck Pond was transformed into a drive-in movie theater. Carloads of fans drove onto the outfield grass and tuned in the sound on their FM radios as they watched some Hollywood favorites.

MGE sponsored the Duck Pond Drive-in Movie Night at Warner Park on July 18. Every movie night, we shared electric safety messages in a video that played before the feature. MGE safety tips also were highlighted on a digital display at the ballpark.
Duck Pond at Warner Park

With the cancellation of Madison Mallards’ games due to COVID-19, the Duck Pond at Warner Park on the city’s north side was filled with moviegoers instead of baseball fans. MGE sponsored one of the Duck Pond Drive-in Movie Nights. The movie shown that night was the summertime classic, The Sandlot.


Forward Madison FC

Madison’s first professional soccer team, Forward Madison FC, opened its inaugural season at Breese Stevens Field in 2019 with more than 4,000 fans attending each game. COVID-19 prevented Forward Madison FC from competing at Breese Stevens Field in 2020; however, MGE’s support of the Flamingos continues. MGE partners with Madison’s professional soccer team to bring safety and energy-saving information to fans of the Flamingos. Committed to family-friendly events and efforts to revitalize downtown Madison, MGE supports both Forward Madison and Breese Stevens Field.

E. Washington Avenue


“In addition to our giving through the MGE Foundation, MGE also supports our community through partnerships and collaborations, memberships and sponsorships, and many other activities. With hundreds of local nonprofits, community organizations, institutions, advocacy and other groups, we have many opportunities to partner for the betterment of our community.” Jeff Keebler, MGE Chairman, President and CEO